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IES Grant

Title: ROOTS Replication: A Systematic Replication of a Tier 2 Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention
Center: NCSER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Ben Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Research Grants Focused on Systematic Replication in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (07/01/2020 – 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $3,600,000
Type: Replication Efficacy Award Number: R324R200005

Co-Principal Investigator: Morgan, Joseph; Kosty, Derek; Smolkowski, Keith; Doabler, Christian; Turtura, Jessica

Purpose: The purpose of this project is twofold. The primary purpose is to conduct a replication study of a kindergarten mathematics intervention (ROOTS) for students at risk for mathematics learning disabilities (MLD) across school types and student populations intentionally selected to differ from previous efficacy studies. A secondary purpose of the project will be to investigate the relationship between intervention onset and student outcomes.

Project Activities: The research will occur across five years In Year 1 the researchers will recruit and screen 750 kindergarten students to identify 270 students at-risk from 30 classrooms in Texas. In Year 2 research will be conducted in the same 30 Texas kindergarten classrooms but with a new cohort of kindergarten students. In Year 2, researchers will add a wave of 30 new kindergarten classrooms in Las Vegas, NV. In Year 3 research will continue in the same 30 Las Vegas kindergarten classrooms but with a new cohort of kindergarten students. Cohorts of participating students from each year and region will be assessed in the middle of first grade to evaluate the long-term impact on mathematics achievement. Project activities will also include analysis of standard kindergarten mathematics instruction in participating sites. In Year 5, researchers will complete data analysis and dissemination of project findings to key stakeholders.

Products: Products include information about the efficacy of ROOTS in different settings and information about the cost and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. The project will also result in a released final data set, peer-reviewed publications and presentations as well as additional dissemination products that reach education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in in school districts in Texas with a focus on rural schools and in Nevada within a large urban setting.

Sample: Participants will be drawn from a population of kindergarten students from economically and racially diverse communities and will consist of 120 kindergarten classrooms. Within each participating classroom, 9 children at-risk for MLD will be identified through pre-test screening.

Intervention: ROOTS is a 50-lesson kindergarten intervention program and is delivered to small groups consisting of 2 to 5 students, 5 times per week, for 10–12 weeks. Each ROOTS lesson is approximately 20 minutes in duration and includes 4 to 5 brief mathematics activities that center on whole number concepts and skills. ROOTS is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and provides in-depth instruction on critical whole number concepts including counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, and number operations in base 10. ROOTS was developed through a prior IES funded development grant and tested for efficacy through an IES funded initial efficacy study where it was shown to have impact on student outcomes. The professional development and instructional architecture support high implementation fidelity. ROOTS lessons provide teachers with guidelines for modeling and demonstrating what they want students to learn and providing specific academic feedback to students as they engage in learning activities.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will conduct a three-condition RCT. Students who have been identified as at-risk for MLD will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) a beginning of the year ROOTS condition (BOY-ROOTS), (b) a middle of the year ROOTS condition (MOY-ROOTS), and (c) a no-treatment, business-as-usual control condition. This randomized trial nests intervention students, but not control students, within instructional groups. For comparisons between conditions, researchers will use a partially nested randomized design and for comparisons between intervention groups, researchers will use a fully cluster-randomized design.

Control Condition: The control condition is business-as-usual kindergarten mathematics instruction.

Key Measures: The measurement net includes proximal and distal measures of student mathematics achievement outcomes including researcher developed measures (ROOTS Assessment of Early Numeracy Skills) and standardized measures (Assessing Student Proficiency in Early Number Sense- ASPENS, Test of Early Mathematics Ability-Third Edition, the Measures of Academic Progress, Stanford Achievement Test-Tenth Edition). Researchers will also use several cognition measures (Wechlser Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Fourth Edition - Animal Coding subtest, Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing - Nonword Repetition subtest, and Digit Span-Backward). Researchers will use measures of instruction including, classroom observations, measures focused on fidelity of implementation, treatment intensity, and quality of instructional interactions. Instructional logs will be used by researchers to document key variables of instruction. Teacher and student demographic data will also be collected. Researchers will collect all cost information related to program implementation.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use multilevel modeling adjusted for the partially nested design to determine differential gains between treatment conditions. The comparison between groups will use a fully nested multilevel analysis. The project will have sufficient power to detect differences between conditions equivalent to d = .16 to .34 standard deviations. The research team will analyze all the expected initial costs and costs for the reasonable lifespan of the program. The cost analysis will be coupled with a cost-effectiveness analysis which extends the cost analysis by combining the costs with a measure of the intervention effect for key outcomes such as mathematics achievement.

Related IES Projects: A Randomized Control Trial of a Tier 2 Kindergarten Mathematics Intervention (R324A120304); Early Learning in Mathematics: Efficacy in Kindergarten Classrooms (R305A080699)